Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wikipedia Becoming More Acceptable in the Classroom

Wikipedia Becoming More Acceptable in the Classroom
Wikipedia has been the go-to source for many people over the last decade. Despite it being considered non-reliable, it is still one of the first places people look due to its ranking so high in search results. Academia is one of the industries that have not had a good relationship with Wikipedia throughout the years but this could be changing thanks to recent trends.

Due to Wikipedia not being considered a reliable source, many colleges and universities have banned its use by students for research projects. However, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that some college professors are actually using Wikipedia for classes, something that would not have been allowed just a few years ago.

Even though academia has shunned Wikipedia in the past, there seems to be a growing trend to allow its use in schools. There are many reasons why this could be occurring but here are some of the most common.

Wikipedia Now Being Edited by Experts

 Wikipedia is no longer edited by a small group of editors. Many of them are experts in professional fields such as physicians, lawyers, and even professors. This pool of editors volunteers their time to make improvements to the site, editing existent content and creating new pages.

Wikipedia has become so difficult to navigate because of its vast rules that people even turn to professional Wikipedia services. That means you now have volunteer editors as well as outside paid editors contributing content to Wikipedia.

Editors Are Becoming More Diverse

A study by MIT found that Wikipedia is skewed toward technical, western, and male-dominated subject matter. This is reflective of the male-dominated editor pool. Over the last couple of years, Wikipedia has become more diverse thanks to “edit-a-thons” that have focused on removing gender bias from Wikipedia.

When you bring diversity into any situation, you will have more of an unbiased view. The same applies to Wikipedia. With editors of all genders, races, religions, etc., you will have more of a neutral point of view with articles, making them a more reliable and accurate account of history.

Students Now Editing Wikipedia as Class Assignments

Evidence that Wikipedia has become more acceptable in education can be seen in how many students are editing it as a class assignment. I am not talking about using it as a reference, but learning how and performing edits to the online encyclopedia for class credit.

Wikipedia has worked with the academic community for some time now, even creating Wikipedia projects to help teachers use it for assignments. Some of the most prominent universities even employ “Wikipedians in Residence” who work within the college to help students and teachers with Wikipedia.

Students Learning to Use Wikipedia the Right Way

Despite earning more respect in academia, it is still not advisable to cite Wikipedia for class assignments. This is due to the open access format where anyone can edit. Citing Wikipedia directly is a no-no but there is a way to use it as a starting point which many students are now taking advantage of.

According to the guide to using Wikipedia in academia, always go directly to the Wikipedia article about the topic you are researching. Then, scroll to the bottom under the “references” section. There you will find a list of all the reliable sources that you can use to cite in your paper. Students learning to use Wikipedia correctly are causing professors to trust its use more and more.

What Will be Next for Wikipedia and Academia?

I highly doubt that Wikipedia will ever be used as a direct citation for research. However, more educational institutions will likely move closer to allowing its use to begin your research. In addition to class projects where students edit Wikipedia directly, academia is likely to produce future Wikipedia editors from those who enjoyed using it for class projects.

What has been your experience with using Wikipedia in the classroom?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

5 Smartphone Apps That Parents Need To Worry About

Owning a smartphone filled with countless apps that can help one from keeping track of their appointments to telling them how many calories they have lost by walking down the road is a norm these days. Yet, there are a few apps that parents should worry about as soon as they see them on their kids’ phones. Here are 5 of the worse apps your child could have on their phones.


Vine is home to some of the most popular online celebrities like King Bach who makes vine one of the most entertaining and fun social networking platforms out there. But like everything else, there are good ways to use vine and then there are the bad ones. The bad ones being the fact that one can upload any kind of pornographic material on vine without any restrictions. Now Hofmann, Yusupov and Kroll, the founders, incorporated a 17+ age restriction to make an account for vine, however, it is fairly simple for teens to make an account on vine.

Other than just viewing inappropriate videos on Vine, they can also upload their own videos which may or may not be indecent in nature and may even contain child abuse content.

ChatRoulette or Omegle

Same as other social networking apps on this list, ChatRoulette and Omegle allow teens to talk to strangers from all over the world. Now, these two apps are a mile ahead from other apps of its kind, providing video chatting facility, it is one of the most inappropriate apps for minors on the internet these days.

There are several features that the founders and the owners of these apps certainly overlooked. One being the fact that you can record the online video chats and upload them anywhere on the internet meaning that what your child says or does can most certainly come back to bite them in the near future. It also greatly increases the chances of cyber bullying. A large number of people just log into these apps to bully people and turn them against the people they love.


Ask.fm allows access to a feature that is unlike any other, it enable its users to ask fellow members questions. Now these questions can very well be of any nature, there is no profanity filter of any sorts that prevents people from asking personal or sometimes sexual question from other people.

The questions aren’t reviewed by anyone so that it can be filtered before being published, that is the reason that abuse on ask.fm has been growing rapidly. If you fear that someone is bullying you online on ask.fm, it does come with the option to block people. However, the people you block can still view your profile and know about all your likes and dislikes and you can’t do anything about it.


Blendr is an app which allows anyone to communicate with someone anywhere on the planet. However, it also incorporates a feature that uses the GPS Location of a device to find users located nearby. It’s never safe when strangers know your child’s location up to the block you live in. Even if we ignore the GPS Locating feature, it is also a pretty harmful app for the young minds because it allows online predators to prey on their minds and without anyone finding out about it.


This is another free texting app that enables children to talk to strangers, you don’t need to know anything about the other person, and you could just type in random names and hope for the best.

Other than the fact that you can search random people, there are also apps available on Google Play Store and the Apple Store that can provide usernames for males and females, whichever you may be interested in.

You don’t need to download the app to find out that it is mostly used to sexting, the app description and the comments on the app says it all. There are several hundred comments of people providing their private information and asking girls and boys for sexting and role play which makes it seems like a 100% hookup site.

The Bottom Line
           These are just 5 of the hundreds, even thousands of apps in the market that put the mind of children at great risk. The fact that kids can gain access to these apps as soon as they learn how to operate a smartphone is a cause of great worry for parents all over the world. The thrill of having explicit chats with strangers could very well be the only thing that could ruin the rest of their lives and get them addicted to stuff like pornography which very well leads to an act that the children might regret greatly in the future. Hence, using a smartphone monitoring app is the best precaution for parents in the world today.

Author Bio: 
Elizbeth is a blogger and writer. She loves to write about digital parenting teens and issues related them. She is currently working on monitoring you kid’s text messages to keep an eye on you kid. Follow her on twitter @elizbethsewell6

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